Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) in Dogs – A Case Study

Osteosarcoma in Dogs

An Osteosarcoma is bone cancer. Osteosarcomas account for only 5% of all tumors in dogs, but 80-90% of malignancies involving the bone. Much more common in large breed dogs, osteosarcoma is an aggressive cancer of the bone that often requires amputation of the affected limb.

The symptoms of osteosarcomas are often closely associated with their location. The first thing an owner will usually see is lameness – the dog is limping. This is because most (82%) of the time bone cancer in dogs will begin in the larger leg bones. X-rays often reveal a characteristic bone pattern that, coupled with history and breed, may indicate the development of an osteosarcoma.


Patient: Megan

Age: 10 yrs

Breed: Golden Retriever

Megan is our technician Sherri’s Golden Retriever (and our dear Willow’s mom).

Normally a happy and playful dog, Megan began limping quite suddenly in the fall. Initially she was treated with Rimidyl to help with the pain for what was thought to be a possible sprain. The Rimidyl helped a little but Megan continued to limp. A sprain can often take time to heal so Sherri continued to monitor Megan and keep her quiet so as not to put more stress on the sore limb. When it became clear that the limp was not going away and Megan was putting less and less weight on her leg Sherri had her come in for an x-ray.

Megan’s x-ray revealed abnormalities in the proximal humerus or upper front left leg. Because of the aggressive nature of osteosarcoma it was decided to amputate her leg as soon as possible. Because Megan was in otherwise great health and she would still be able to be mobile after surgery this was the best option for her.

Post-surgery Megan has done very well. She has adapted quite nicely to her three legged condition and manages quite fine.

She has gone right back into her old habits of jumping onto her favorite couch and can do stairs quite efficiently. The video shows that she can keep up quite nicely with her daughter Willow….thank you very much.

Meg’s Video

Megan now has a pain free life and hopefully lots more years with her family!

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